Co-Director, Professor of Natural Resource Policy and Economics
NC State University
Co-Director, Professor of Forest Resource Economics and Management
NC State University
NC State University
The Southern Forest Resource Assessment Consortium (SOFAC) develops forest sector market models for application to forest resource assessments in the South, U.S., and the World. SOFAC modelers and members will be able to use the SOFAC suite of models and research to simultaneously project timber inventory, supply, and prices for a variety of regions and a variety of timber products across the South. SOFAC will continue cooperative university-industry-public agency cooperation in southern and national forest sector economic modeling. SOFAC will enhance graduate instruction in forest economics and modeling.
The core suite of models for this effort are linked to the SubRegional Timber Supply (SRTS) Model, which is a bio-economic model that integrates forest inventory and analysis data and economic principles to estimate inventory, supply, demand, and price trends. SOFAC integrates currently available forest resource data from the USDA Forest Service, Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program and economic theory to model timber supply, demand, and prices in the South by local area; analyze the status of southern timber supply periodically; and analyze the impacts of new market and policy factors on timber supply.
Models that are linked to SRTS include modules that periodically collect and update the USDA Forest Service FIA data; that estimate land use change; that estimate pine plantation responses to price changes; and that estimate timber demand and removals. This suite of models is then used to project timber supply under a range of economic and policy scenarios in the South, with some applications in the Northeast and Midwest.
A global timber investment benchmarking series has been developed every three years from 2005 to 2014, and was just finished last year. Analyses of trends affecting global forest plantation investments was completed recently, and a model of applying SRTS to plantations in the Southern Cone of South America has been completed.
Currently studies on factors such as new forest products processing capacity or closures, growth and removal cycles, wood chip demand, bioenergy, wood pellets, land use change, or global timber investments are being performed. The effects of using more roundwood for bioenergy; effects of holding more sawtimber for longer periods; and impacts of the new forest market structure on investors remain important for SRTS applications.
SRTS also has been used in modeling the impact of federal policies on energy and greenhouse gases, as well as address how EPA sets its policy and the effects on wood demand. Similarly, the effect of EU policies on wood energy and the carbon neutrality of wood will be important. EU to date has considered wood carbon neutral, but this is becoming more of an issue there as well, like the U.S. Certification also may be required to meet EU export demands. Related work in 2015 on production economics has examined land use change and timber harvesting capacity.
Global timber investments in forest plantations and comparative returns research helps inform strategic investment decisions and set benchmarks for U.S. production, and forest plantations throughout the world are becoming the key source for providing industrial roundwood. Global timber supply will also affect southern timber markets.
Abt, K. L., Abt, R. C., & Galik, C. 2012. Effect of bioenergy demands and supply response on markets, carbon, and land use. Forest Science 58(5):523-539.
Abt, R. C., Cubbage, F. W., & Abt, K. L. 2009. Projecting southern timber supply for multiple products by subregion. Forest Products Journal 59(7-8):7-16.
Cubbage, Frederick, Patricio MacDonagh, Gustavo Balmelli, Virginia Morales Olmos, Adriana Bussoni, Rafael Rubilar, Rafael de la Torre, Roger Lord, Jin Huang, Vitor Afonso Hoeflich, Mauro Murara, Bruno Kaniski, Peter Hall, Richard Yao, Paul Adams, Heynz Kotze, Elizabeth Monges, Carmelo Hernandez Perez, Jeff Wikle, Robert Abt, Ronalds Gonzalez, and Omar Carrerro. 2014. Global timber investments and trends, 2005-2011. New Zealand Journal of Forestry Science 44(Suppl 1):57. Accessed at: http://www.nzforestryscience.com/content/4451/s7. 5 December 2014.